Gibbons closure is the triumph of greed

March 08, 2010

What kind of message is the archdiocese sending the young men of Cardinal Gibbons? It seems that corporate greed has now permeated our own religious leaders, or is it the old saying, "Do as I say, not as I do"?

The Gibbons community is truly a family. When one of us is hurting, we all feel the pain. It is not a large school, but it is a place with a huge heart. From the moment we took a tour of the school when my son was deciding where to attend high school, we knew Gibbons was where he had to go. It offered a warmth and camaraderie that we didn't feel at other schools we visited. Yes, there is a sense of being an underdog, but isn't that the American dream? To see the little guy do well?

It seems to me that the Archdiocese is kicking this little guy to the curb. It appears that unless you can afford to be a member of the country club, the Catholic Church in Baltimore doesn't need you or want you. It's ironic that the archdiocene schools were formed in the 1800s to educate and protect Catholic children that were being persecuted by Protestants. Now, in their hour of need, the archdiocese is turning its back on its own people.

But above all, perhaps, the biggest tragedy in closing Gibbons is the collective spirit that is being crushed. The boys that become men in the four years at this school have adhered to the teachings of the Catholic faith. The brotherhood and compassion that the students of Gibbons feel and express to one another is truly a magnificent sight to behold. They stand out among their peers. To call them a close-knit group is an understatement.

Gibbons has been a wonderful place for my son. I've watched him grow and mature into a leader, a man of virtue and integrity. He is lucky. He gets to graduate from Gibbons this spring and head to college at UMBC where he was awarded the Dean's Scholarship for the academic excellence he achieved at Gibbons. The underclassmen at the school will never have that chance because the rug has been pulled out from under them. The motto of Cardinal Gibbons is "Brothers in Christ, Crusaders for Life." It's a shame that the legacy that started with Archbishop Spalding and the Xaverian Brothers in the late 1800s can no longer continue. They established St. Mary's Industrial School for orphans and underprivileged boys where Gibbons now stands with some of the original buildings still intact. The Archdiocese of Baltimore has chosen to destroy the spirit and very being of something truly good for the sake of balancing the budget of an institution that has failed not only itself, but those it has vowed to serve.

Art Vail, Baltimore

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